All sports have a name for the leader of the team. The man or woman has been referred to as manager, skipper, and field general among others. One term comes out over and over again, coach.
While all leadership positions come under tremendous scrutiny, there are two that come under more scrutiny than the others; President of the United States and Head Football Coach for an SEC team.
While America will vote for the next President in the very near future but the future is an uncertainty for two coaches in the SEC, Derek Dooley at Tennessee and Gene Chizik at Auburn. Both schools have a tradition of winning and a very vocal/loyal fan base.
Say what you may about their styles, game plans, and decision making skills but both have gotten to where they are because at some point they convinced someone that they were the right man for the job. Now comes a time in their lives and careers where they will receive a lot of negative attention. This will be felt by them, their staff’s, players and families.
On one of the major sports radio stations in Nashville, Tennessee this past Monday fans were calling in and literally throwing out names of other people they felt could or should be the next head coach at the University of Tennessee. Some logical but most ridiculous. One can only imagine what it would be like to be the person they are talking about replacing.
Coaching changes happen all the time in every sport. It goes with the territory. Changes at the top of any business happen with some frequency for that matter. What is rarely considered though, especially by a rabid fan base, is the emotions of the coach or their family. Can you imagine what it must be like for Coach Dooley’s wife or Gene Chizik’s kids to have to listen to the constant talk about their father losing his job?
Nowadays even contract information comes out. The Knoxville News Sentinel combed through the Tennessee coach and his assistants contracts in an effort to figure out how much it would take to get rid of everyone. The number is pretty big (Coach Chizik’s is even more). It’s also important to note that these are public universities and not professional football teams. Is all of this private money or will some of it have to come from the cash strapped states of Tennessee and Alabama?
While coaching changes are a way of life in the coaching profession one would hope that it would be handled with a little more class. A little more consideration. We’re talking about people’s jobs and their families lives. While none of these men or their staff’s will starve by any means it should give fans pause to know that these are real people and not some emotionless robot walking the sidelines. Their families shop at the same grocery store as the fans do and their kids attend the same schools. While on one level this is a business decision on another it’s matter of human decency.